Continued SLPP, APC tensions could threaten 2023 elections – Op ed

Amin Kef Sesay: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 31 May 2022:

Last week, the Speaker of Parliament had to adjourn a session for nearly half an hour in a bid to separate feuding SLPP and APC MPs. Reports say that the two sides almost went into physical blows.

It is a fact that since the transfer of power from the APC to the ruling SLPP in April 2018, there has been a wave of protests, walkouts, boycotts and low-level violence between the two main political parties both inside and outside Parliament.

Four years since President Julius Maada Bio defeated the incumbent in general elections and took office, Sierra Leone’s political scene is fraught with tensions, especially after the Bio-led ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) gradually took control of the country’s parliament from the All People’s Congress (APC) by nullifying swathes of election results through the courts.

APC demonstrated against the Government’s attempt to remove over a dozen of its MPs for alleged electoral malpractice, with all the APC’s 68 MPs walking out of Parliament in protest.

The change of government also led to several APC officials, from low to high-level bureaucrats across various Ministries, Departments and Agencies sacked from their jobs by the incoming SLPP government.

At the core of much political tension is the Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate corruption between September 2007 and April 2018 under the APC government.

In April 2018, a transition report named various former APC government ministers and public officials accused of corruption, which was followed by several high-level arrests, including former Ministers, an Ambassador and Bank Director.

Sierra Leone’s fraught politics and ongoing low-level violence pose serious concerns, though for the moment it is relatively being contained.

For now, the ruling SLPP appears to have the upper hand. And despite political tensions, Sierra Leone’s broader stability seems not to be under threat.

Looking ahead, however, there may also emerge new sources of friction which if not taken seriously by the government and the International Community ahead of the 2023 elections, could result in political violence and breakdown of law and order, as was seen in Kenya after its last two general elections.

 

9 Comments

  1. Thanks Mr Africanus .Your egle eye have noticed what have always been the bug bear of our country .That is a highly educated people or intelligentia amongst us are ready to support a goverment of whichever colour that happens to be in power notwithstanding the enormous damaged they have done to the development and national cohesion of our country. And in this case not necessary that they stand to benefit from it , because as Bio himself admitted he only appoints peoples he knows.Not for what they know or their qualifications but because they used to be his school friends or buddies in his play ground in his dry ,dusty,and wind swept village with no electricity or running water .Now one has to be really cynical to think like that .And coming from the horses mouth , it tells you everything you need to know about Bio and his one directionless government .For me their are two Bio’s .Bio the person , the family man .And Bio the President .And as it happens majority of those he appointed in position of power are from his tribesmen or women .Who could blame him ?

    And coming from an elected President that was elected by 55%of the voting public, that is a real kick in the teeth for someone let’s say who voted for him from the North , South East and West.What a way to run a country and deciding the fate of eight million of us.The problem with us Sierra Leoneans , anyon who expressed their opinions, is immediately giving the hair brush treatment by fellow Sierra Leones who see themselves as supporters and defenders of the two main political parties.APC /SLPP. What this die-hard supporters that see this two parties they support as Football teams , for some of us we only support one team.”TEAM SIERRA LEONE “.In my case Iam allergic to the mere mention of APC /SLPP .It makes me reach for the bucket because I want to throw up .Because this two parties have been alternating power bar the military take overs since we got independence .My question for some of this educated Sierra Leoneans why they continue to defend the indefensible?

    Look at the state of our country and compare it with countries like Rwanda, Bostwana, Kenya , Nigeria and South Africa ?Are we to say our country’s development or the lack of can compete with those countries?Or better still how many Sierra Leoenean children or families goes to bed hungry ?What has this corrupt Bio government done for them that continued to support him with his failed economic polices and his vendetta politics he pursue against Mrs Akin Swayer , the former auditor General Mrs Lara Pearce Taylor, Dr Bright , Mr Kemoh Sesay , Dr Bylden , Mr Momoh , and many others .Unless we starts speaking the truth and tackle corruption both in government and public sector bodies chances are we will never move that development dail.The truth will always prevail .LONTA!

  2. Wow, Mr Jalloh, it seems the trolls are out for you.
    It would be professional though, if the media unit of,”he who must not be named”, could write basic English.

    I sense desperation. Time will tell

  3. Mr. Jalloh is only talking about what he thinks President Bio will do to win re-election with no justification. Let’s be objective in our political comments as Sierra Leoneans because even if you don’t like someone, it’s wrong to judge just base on your personal interest.

    • Thanks Mr Rogers for your contribution. For your interest or any other contributors on this forum I am not a member of any political party in Sierra Leone. And also I can categorically state Iam not a Bio hater by any stretch of the imagination .We don’t hate our leaders we point out their flaws otherwise we are doing a great deservice to them and our country.Thats what democracy and freedom of speech is all about .He is our elected leader and I respect that and we should all respect him for that.But that doesn’t give him a free pass to think and do or pursue policies that are detrimental to our country’s young democracy. As a citizen of a state , you are automatically a stakeholder on how the future development of that country is managed both for you and me , our families, your eight million fellow Sierra Leoneans and future generations yet unborn. Bio came to office with the promised of changing the trajectory of our country .

      Asked why our country that is rich both in human and natural resources , but still rely on 60% on foreign aid to meet government budgetary needs,?Bio was quick to say the main reason is because of corruption .Four years on under his watch corruption allegations are still being made against some members of his inner circle. In 2018 ten elected members of the APC party were ejected violently, from parliament, so the ruling SLPP can enjoy advantage in numbers in parliament .Not a word from Bio .In 2020 ,Dr Sylvia Bylden was arrested and her home was ransacked by members of the Sierra Leone police detained for fifty four days with out following due process of the law as stated in our Constitution .She was only released after the intervention of the British authorities. Rt Major Paola A.conteh was detained on false charges. And more recently Dr Samura , Dr Birght , Dr Cole , Mr Kemoh Sesay were question by police by daring to publically voice their disagreement with the Bio government. And this people are opposition politicians .Is their job to oppose government policy .What happened to Freedom of speech under Bio ?

      In 2020 forty unarmed prisoners were murdered at Pademba Road prison.No word from Bio or even a public inquiry as to what happened so some thing like that never happene again. The families of those poor souls are still waiting for answers .In Makeni ,Six youths were killed by our trigger happy police no one was held to account.So when we are debating let’s stick to the facts .Promomting a false narrative on this forum will not wash with some of us .Otherwise our country will never develop .And we have been lied to since independence .If anything the state of our country is worst than when we acquired independence more than sixty years ago.unless we are talking about two different Sierra leones .

  4. If the APC party thinks like the country” Sierra Leone” is only for them, well that’s an empty bag of lie. When there was no Democracy in this world especially in the 70s, we can understand that but folks, since APC forcefully handed power to the ” Gallant soldier” Pres. Bio in 2018, APC not rest nor sleep neither by day nor by night. Wondering how this happened and where were our men?, with all secrets presidential candidates with unknown names in the ballots, because the whole understood that” Dr. Samura Kamara” wasn’t the only candidate on the ballot. These guys were determined badly to change the country’s constitution up-side down without any hesitation. The life chairman will quits the chairmanship and becomes (Prime minister)for the first time again; guest what would happen later, H.E. will obtains all the power and, Samura Kamara will become the state house waiter to serve him as he wanted.

    Pres. Bio thank you for your great service and sacrifice to this country. APC not want to be call opposition no, that’s prohibited. One thing I wanted to say here today, by the power of God it takes a while for them to get back to state house, unless they nominate the right person for the party. Take care.

  5. There is a complete disconnect with what is happening now and what is expected to happen in the 2023 presidential and Parliamentary elections.As a rule of thumb the two main political parties APC and SLPP will field in their presidential candidates with their running mates .Also the smaller parties will have their own candidates. All political parties will then present their party manifestos and those aspiring candidates running under the banner of whatever party that they identify with ideologically will go around the country to sell their messages of hope and future prosperity for the country .And if they are lucky enough to be elected this is the path they will be taking to fulfil those promises .The voting public will then have the opportunity to scrutinise the promises and programmes they made and make an informed judgement about who offers the best hopes and solutions to their needs and accordingly cast their vote for such candidates on elections day. That is the ways the wheels of democracy should work.

    Since we vote on first past the post system of government, the candidates with the highest tally of vote after the votes has been counted is declared the winner by the national electoral commission. The loosing candidate pick up the phone and congratulates the winner that forms the next government. Quiet often the most important individuals that matters in the contest during this period of uncertainty is the two main presidential candidates. To me Over the last four years Bio have proved himself instinctively that he will deploy any methods to intimidate , or bully his opponents to ensure his reelection is decided in the streets not in the privacy of the polling booth. Conducting , open and fair elections in vast majority of our African countries, is not only a deadly enterprise but our corrupt African leaders have made it the norm rather than the exception .

    Ironically they never deliver on any of their promises .Africa is home to one of the richest and poorest people on planet Earth. Thanks to our African slave masters .Even a mature democracy like the United States can sometimes find itself in a democratic flux .As the Trump /Biden 2020 Presidential election showed us or the 2000 US presidential election between Bush and Gore that was decided by the United States Supreme Court .Usaually the party in power have an uphill battle to defend their record. As for Bio and his government they have something like mount Kilimanjaro or literally the Wara -Wara mountains of Kabala to climb in selling their broken promises .As we all know four years of Bio’s lack of leadership in bridging the gaps between what he promised us and the actual goods he delivered is out of sync with peoples everyday life under his watch.

    Cost of living is sky rocketing and families up and down the country are hurting .Whilst Bio and his cronies are living in an alternative Universe.His ruling SLPP government relationship with the opposition All People’s Congress and other parties is if anything to go by the omens for a peaceful conduct of the presidential elections slated for 2023 is not looking good .No one should underestimate the last four tumultuous years of Bio divide and rule policy have sowed the seeds of divisions both ethnically and regionally in the country. In his inaugural address back in 2018 , he promised us he will work studiously to work with all stakeholders to bring our country together as one people and one country working for the common good promise made ,promise broken .He promised he will tackle the cancer of corruption , the jury is still out on that one .We need mature political leadership in Sierra Leone not students politics .

    • I do not understand your take on the topic and Content of the article. Can you try please to make your comment short, so that one does not lose the thread in reading long contributions.

      • Thanks Ms Kargbo.For the shake of clarity, you might not have grasped the message on my opinion piece .Whatever our differences of opinios I think we can both agree in vast majority of African countries, general elections have always been accompanied with violence , deaths and intimidation. Governments wanting to cling on to power by what ever means is a common practice .unless of course I happens to be an alien that have just landed in Africa from outer space and discovered the way politics is doned in Africa and Sierra leone in particular is democratic ,and peaceful transfer of power is the norm not the exception.And to my surprise I discovered our continent has one of the highest concentration of rich and poor people living side by side .And usually the politicians in power are able to use state resources to divide us the ordinary people for their advantage, in some cases with deadly consequences.After every election in an African country , a family is left grieving .

        So the original article is an early warning system that Bio our president might have been sowing the seeds of divisions in our country to enhanced his re-election prospects come 2023. And if we look at his record for the past four years , there is enough evidence to suggest that’s what he has been working on since the day he took office .And to me it doesn’t take a genius or rocket science to work out that Bio have been actively and overtly been working 24/7 to make his bid for a second term a reality rather than a pipe dream .Who could blame him .

        With a fractured opposition led by the leadership of the APC that is unwittingly doing all the heavy lifting for Boi and the SLPP party , their actions and back stabbing might just make Bio’s re-election chances easier than most of us think.We might not all agree on everything but can safely say we want the poverty and lack of development in our country come to an end .And most importantly we want a peaceful Sierra leone .The 2023 Presidential election will put that to the test .

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